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PM Lee to attend ASEAN Summit; COVID-19, RCEP on the agenda

PM Lee to attend ASEAN Summit; COVID-19, RCEP on the agenda

Motorists drive past a banner for the 37th ASEAN Summit near the International Convention Centre in Hanoi on Nov 9, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Nhac NGUYEN)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will lead Singapore’s delegation to the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits, which will be held via video conference this week, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Wednesday (Nov 11).

The meetings from Thursday to Sunday will see leaders from the regional bloc discuss public health and socio-economic challenges posed by COVID-19 and chart a post-coronavirus path to recovery, PMO said in a press statement.

This is in line with the theme of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship, “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, it said.

“The leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues, and continue discussions on how to strengthen regional cooperation, reinforce ASEAN centrality, and promote regional peace and stability,” PMO said.

ASEAN leaders will also meet their counterparts during the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, which includes China, Japan and South Korea, as well as the 15th East Asia Summit and the Fourth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit.

READ: Asia Pacific leaders to sign RCEP trade deal amid US election uncertainty

RCEP is a trade pact between the 10-member ASEAN bloc, along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and until last year, India, which pulled out of the deal.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Vietnam’s deputy foreign minister said the trade deal could be signed on Sunday.

Negotiations for RCEP, which does not include the US, have been taking place since 2012.

READ: What is the RCEP trade deal and what happens now?

ASEAN leaders will also meet their counterparts in summits with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Nations and the United States, PMO added.

This week’s events are expected to be the last on the ASEAN calendar this year, before Vietnam hands the regional bloc’s chairmanship to Brunei.

Source: CNA/dv


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